AAA Games vs. Indie Games: What Are the Differences?

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AAA Games vs. Indie Games: What Are the Differences?

Today’s gamers have a massive library of video game titles to pick from. Despite the large number of games accessible, we can categorize the majority of them as either independent or AAA.

There’s a common misunderstanding that independent games aren’t as polished as AAA titles, but as recent big-name releases have shown, this isn’t necessarily the case. Understanding the distinctions between the two, on the other hand, is critical.

What Are AAA or Triple-A Games?

AAA games (also known as Triple-A games) are produced by enormous companies that employ hundreds of game designers, concept artists, and developers. As you can expect, the budgets for these games are enormous.

Grand Theft Auto V, which was launched in 2013 and quickly surpassed the $1 billion mark, cost roughly $140 million to produce. Then there are the millions of dollars spent on marketing by publishers.

For AAA projects, a lead developer often spreads work, with other companies contributing to various areas of the game. As a consequence, most AAA games are rather extensive, with rich and intricate environments that have been methodically constructed.

The visuals are also among the greatest in the business, with some games often pushing the limits of what consoles or PCs can do. They sell at a significantly greater price because they cost more money. Typically, this ranges from $40 and $100.

Some popular AAA titles include:

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • God of War
  • The Last of Us
  • Spider-Man
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Limited versions with extra DLC, skins, or season passes are also released by game developers.

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Related: What Is DLC in Video Games?

However, simply because creators spend a lot of money on AAA games does not guarantee good gameplay. There have been a number of releases in recent years that were plagued with flaws upon release, such as:

  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • Fallout 76
  • Assassin’s Creed: Unity

Some Triple-A games have also been chastised for providing very little value in terms of replayability and gameplay while paying the same as a complete game. A good example is Star Wars Battlefront II. It gave gamers a pay-to-win edge and included several microtransactions.

Related: Why You Shouldn’t Pay for Season Passes or DLC

What Are Indie Games?

In contrast to AAA products, independent games are developed by tiny firms or individuals rather than large teams. These are often side projects supported by the creators themselves. Many independent studios are seldom supported by publishers.

Indie simply means “independent” in this context, and it denotes that the creator works alone; a small group or person, as previously said, free to do as it or they like since another corporation that creates and/or distributes games does not own them.

To finance development expenses, most independent developers increasingly resort to crowdfunding. Because of financial limits, the games are often smaller in size and shorter in length.

That isn’t always a terrible thing. In order to attract more interest, developers create independent products for a much larger audience, and the cost is often inexpensive. Minecraft was developed by Markus Persson and Rolf Jansson as an independent title that launched a new genre of games and cost $13 a copy in its original editions.

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It’s a basic exploration-based computer game that may seem to be from the 1990s, yet it has a surprising amount of depth. Many indie releases also employ pixelated graphical styles to emphasize the story rather than the aesthetics.

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As a consequence, independent games aren’t often as visually impressive as AAA releases. They make up for it, though, in terms of playability. Among the most highly lauded indie releases in recent years are:

  • Stardew Valley
  • Celeste
  • Hades
  • Dead Cells
  • Spelunky
  • Cuphead
  • Super Meat Boy
  • Bastion

Interest in Indie Gaming Is on the Rise

As many major companies have encountered delays and botched releases, indie gaming is on the rise. Stardew Valley, for example, provides limitless replayability at a low cost. However, major publishers are taking note.

Microsoft paid $2.5 billion for Mojang Studios, the company behind Minecraft. Sony has a special program for independent releases called Playstation Indies, while Nintendo has a dedicated scheme for indie game makers. If you have a Nintendo Switch and like independent games, there are many to choose from.

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